Liquid-cooled Tesla Supercharger cableEnlarge Photo
To date, Tesla Motors has offered its buyers the company's Supercharger DC fast-charging standard, which presently charges more quickly than the CHAdeMO or Combined Charging Standard (CCS) systems used by other carmakers.
In China, though, Tesla is now on board with a new national standard for electric-car charging.
The company is launching the "Tesla Charging Partner Program" in China to promote the new standard.
This program will focus on helping charging-site operators get certified for the new standards, and manage testing of equipment for compatibility with the national charging standard, according to Electrek.
The Chinese government hopes to put 5 million "new-energy vehicles"—including battery-electric, hydrogen fuel-cell, and plug-in hybrid cars—on the country's roads by 2020.
But until now there has been relatively little coordinated effort to develop charging infrastructure for plug-in electric cars.
Tesla Supercharger site in Dorno, Italy, photo by problemidiricarica.wordpress.com/Enlarge Photo
A single Chinese national standard—which encompasses both Level 2 AC charging and DC fast charging—takes a major step toward changing that.
In addition to standardizing charging equipment, the rollout will include the installation of around 12,000 charging stations, at an estimated cost of roughly $20 billion.
Tesla already operates its own network of Supercharger DC fast-charging stations, as well as providing some Level 2 AC stations that it calls "destination chargers" to selected businesses its drivers may patronize.
It seems likely that Tesla will add plugs that are compatible with the new Chinese standard to these existing stations, rather than replace them outright.
Tesla initially struggled in China, but is gaining momentum in the country.
China is the second-largest country for Model 3 reservations, after the U.S., according to recent reports.
Tesla Supercharger stations at Harris Ranch, California, in April 2013 [photo: TeslaTap.com]Enlarge Photo
Tesla has also said in the past that it plans to build a factory in the country, which could produce the Model 3 for Chinese buyers.
Currently, all Tesla electric cars sold in China are built at the company's assembly plant in Fremont, California, and shipped there.
Not only shipping costs but also high import duties on cars not made in the country inflate Tesla prices in China significantly, putting the carmaker at something of a disadvantage to competitors.
At the moment, all makers of electric cars are benefiting from a sales boom in the country.
Tesla Supercharger site with photovoltaic solar panels, Rocklin, California, Feb 2015Enlarge Photo
Chinese electric-car sales increased fourfold in 2015, to 330,000 units.
Low-speed neighborhood electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids made up a significant portion of that total, but it is still notable given previous consumer disinterest in electric cars.
Some of the increase is likely due to the plug-in hybrid vehicles that qualify for the incentives, even if they're never plugged in.